Duane Keith “Keffe D” Davis, the former street gang leader accused of orchestrating the 1996 drive-by killing of Tupac Shakur in Las Vegas, is expected to plead not guilty during his Thursday arraignment. Davis faces uncertainty regarding legal representation after his inability to hire defense attorney Ross Goodman. It remains unclear whether he will appoint a private lawyer or a judge will assign a public defender.
Davis, 60, originally from Compton, California, was arrested on September 29 in suburban Henderson. His indictment alleges he provided the gun used in the shooting from a Cadillac, resulting in the fatal wounding of Shakur and injuring rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight. Shakur succumbed to his injuries a week later at age 25.
Goodman, speaking on behalf of Davis two weeks prior, pointed to the prosecution’s lack of critical evidence and witnesses, given the 27-year time lapse since the crime. The reasons behind Davis’s inability to secure Goodman’s services remain undisclosed.
The renewed focus on Shakur’s unsolved murder follows the July 17 execution of a search warrant at Davis’s residence. Prosecutors posit that the murder stemmed from a fierce rivalry between East and West Coast factions in the “gangsta rap” music scene, further inflamed by a brawl at a Las Vegas Strip casino involving Shakur and Davis’s nephew, Orlando “Baby Lane” Anderson.
Davis has reportedly implicated himself in Shakur’s killing through multiple interviews and a 2019 memoir detailing his life leading a Crips faction in Compton. Meanwhile, Knight, now 58, is serving a 28-year prison sentence in California for a 2015 incident leading to the death of a Compton businessman.